Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli forces kill at least 12 Palestinians, possibly as many as 20, and injure scores, in border incidents on Nakba Day. Experts say Israel’s actions may have violated international law. Pres. Abbas says the deaths are “not in vain,” and the Daily Star agrees. Some Palestinians say this marks a turning point. The Syrian government is accused of orchestrating one of the incidents, and the BBC looks at the overall background. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon call for a “third intifada,” and the protests again raise the refugee issue. Mordechai Kedar warns that Israel “doesn’t want to share a cell” with regional dictators. Under international pressure, Israel agrees to release Palestinian tax revenues, and salaries will be paid on Monday. Abbas orders the “utmost punishment” for “honor killings.” Tensions surround the burial of a Palestinian teenager killed in occupied East Jerusalem. Special Envoy Mitchell resigns, but The National says negotiations are bigger than any one official. DM Barak says the weekend protests were just the beginning of new challenges facing Israel. Ha’aretz says they show the regional dimensions of an unresolved conflict. PM Netanyahu’s speech before the Knesset might be a preview of his US remarks. Major protests occur at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Ghanem Nuseibeh and Naava Mashiah look at changing GCC-Israeli relations.

Israeli Troops Fire as Marchers Breach Borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel’s borders erupted in deadly clashes on Sunday as thousands of Palestinians — marching from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank — confronted Israeli troops to mark the anniversary of Israel’s creation. More than a dozen people were reported killed and scores injured.

Syrian Border Violence May Hold Message for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Anthony Shadid - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

For 37 years the border between Israel and Syria, still technically at war, has proven as quiet as any of the Arab-Israeli frontiers silenced by peace agreements. On Sunday, it was not, and the tumult on the Golan Heights could augur a new phase of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and the web of international relations he is navigating.

Palestinian president calls for 3 days of mourning for 15 dead in marches on Israeli borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday declared three days of mourning for 15 people killed in mass marches toward multiple Israeli borders that marked a stunning new tactic in the struggle for Palestinian statehood. Sunday’s marches, on the date Palestinians mourn their uprooting as a result of Israel’s 1948 creation, illustrated Arab dissatisfaction with the deadlocked efforts to establish a Palestinian state. The unprecedented tactic also reflected an Arab world emboldened by the anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East this year.

Palestinian refugees call for third intifada during deadly clashes at Israel-Lebanon border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Nicholas Blanford - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

At least six people were killed and scores wounded Sunday when Israeli troops opened fire on a massive crowd of Palestinian refugees who gathered on Lebanon’s southern border with Israel to demand a return to the homes they were forced to leave 63 years ago. Another four Palestinians were reportedly killed when they infiltrated the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from Syria during another demonstration to mark the anniversary of the "nakba," or "catastrophe," as many Palestinians call the day Israel was founded in 1948.

George Mitchell resigns as U.S. Middle East envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yahoo News
by Laura Rozen - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

George Mitchell, Obama's special envoy for Middle East peace, will step down after a frustrating two and a half years seeking to jump-start the stalemated Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warmly thanked Mitchell, 77, the former Senate majority leader from Maine and North Ireland peace negotiator, for his service, in statements sent out by the White House Friday. Mitchell, in a brief resignation letter to the president, said he'd agreed to serve two years, and had now served longer than that.

Palestinians storm into Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Shaun Waterman - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Thousands of Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli security forces on three hostile borders Sunday in an unprecedented wave of protests marking an annual ritual against the founding of the Jewish state in 1948. Israeli soldiers opened fire, leaving at least 15 dead and many more injured, as rioting Palestinians poured across the borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Israeli officials said 13 troops were wounded and blamed Syria and Iran for orchestrating the clashes.

Israel to hand over Palestinian tax revenues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Civil Servants' union said the Palestinian Authority would pay government employees' salaries on Monday, following confirmation that Israel would resume transfers of Palestinian tax revenues A PA government spokesman, however, said he could not confirm the announcement, adding that the salaries would be paid when Israel transferred the cash. Israel said it "got confirmation from the Palestinians that no [tax revenue] money will be transferred to Hamas or to terrorist operations," allowing the country's finance ministry to resume cash transfers, reports said Sunday night.

Abbas orders amendment to 'honor killing' law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas has directed the judiciary to award the "utmost punishment" to perpetrators of honor killings, his secretary-general said Friday. The announcement was made during a talk show on satellite channel Palestine TV to discuss the murder of 20-year-old Ayah Barad'iyya by her uncle. Abbas' secretary-general At-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim telephoned the presenter and announced on air that the president had ordered a legal amendment to end leniency in courts for men who kill to protect "family honor."

Palestinian teen buried in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Around 2,000 mourners laid the body of a Palestinian teen killed in Jerusalem clashes to rest on Saturday. Milad Said Ayyash was fatally wounded on Friday as Palestinians across occupied East Jerusalem staged protests in the runup to Sunday's anniversary of the 1948 creation of Israel, an event known to Palestinians as the "nakba" or "catastrophe."

Palestinians turn back clock in Israel struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry, Ali Sawafta - May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians who forced their way across Israel's border on Sunday turned back the clock on the Middle East conflict, putting centre stage the refugee question that many believed would be negotiated away. Protests at Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon also cast the spotlight on a diaspora marginalised in Palestinian politics since Yasser Arafat moved from exile to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip two decades ago.

Arab blood wasn't shed in vain: Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab blood that was shed today by Israeli troops will not go in vain, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday. Abbas made this remarks in a televised speech as Palestinians and Arabs demonstrated in the Palestinian territories and on Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, the term they use to refer to Israel's creation in 1948 and the subsequent uprooting of Palestinians from their hometowns and villages.

Anti-Israel Arab protests turning point in Mideast conflict: analysts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - (Analysis) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian politicians and analysts said on Sunday that the Palestinian and Arab protests, rallies and demonstrations against Israel, which marked 63 years for the Nakba Day, or Catastrophe, might be a turning point in the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Saeb Erekat, former chief negotiator and a member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) told Xinhua that the Palestinians and the Arabs "reiterated in one united voice that there are no concessions over the stable legitimate rights despite the various Israeli crimes and brutal practices."

Defense Minister: Border infiltrations are just the beginning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that Israel Defense Forces soldiers succeeded in defending Israel's sovereignty when Palestinian refugee demonstrators breached the border with Syria and attempted to cross the border with Lebanon. Barak cautioned, however, that Israel will in the future have to deal with similar and perhaps more complex incidents. IDF forces opened fire on demonstrators on the Syria border, apparently killing several of them.

Israel can't detach the Palestinian issue from Syria and Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

In May 2000, while the Israel Defense Forces was preparing for two diametrically opposite scenarios, one of which was expected to unfold in September - either a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians or violent confrontation - the security zone in southern Lebanon went to pieces, with some prodding from Hezbollah. The South Lebanon Army collapsed, and Israel hastened to evacuate its soldiers to the border. Four months later, in the wake of the reverberating failure of talks with the Palestinians, the territories ignited in violence.

Netanyahu Knesset speech may be precursor to DC visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Rebecca Anna Stoil, Gil Hoffman, Tovah Lazaroff - May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binaymin Netanyahu is expected to fire the opening round at the Knesset Monday, in what is expected to be the start of a nine-day diplomatic marathon of key events, stretching from Jerusalem to Washington. Israeli officials advise that those who want to speculate as to the contents of Netanyahu’s much-touted speech in Washington before a special meeting of Congress on May 24th, should pay attention to his words in the Knesset Monday, when the summer session officially opens.

'Shooting at Syrian protesters may violate int'l law'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ron Friedman - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

The breach of the Israeli border by Syrian protesters was an unprecedented act in modern history and a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty as determined by article 51 of the UN Charter, an international law expert said on Sunday. At the same time, Dr. Daphne Richmond-Barak from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, said that firing on civilians was also a breach of international law, and that once the details of the event were made clear, Israel would have to explain its actions.

Analysis: The writing was on the wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Mordechai Kedar - (Analysis) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

For years, I have been hearing of plans by Palestinian refugees in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria to march en masse toward the Israeli border, under the watchful, headline-making eye of the international media – especially the Arab media. Israel would never dare shoot the marchers, it was reasoned, especially if they walked unarmed and showed no violence. I wrote and spoke about these plans in Israeli media outlets. Recently, a few things changed in the Arab milieu, and we saw the consequences on Sunday.

Palestinian protests: Arab spring or foreign manipulation?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jim Muir - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

In a very different position from most Arab nations, the Palestinians had so far been largely left out as the spirit of assertive demands for rights and freedoms swept the region and threatened its dictators. The pent-up frustrations of the Palestinians largely took the form of pressure on their own divided leaderships to unite, something that has now happened.

Mideast peace is bigger than a lone mediator
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Five years after the Arab League chief Amr Moussa announced that the Middle East peace process was "dead", another blow has befallen the long-vexing struggle between Israel and the Palestinians. George Mitchell, the skilled US diplomat and veteran negotiator, tendered his resignation on Friday, becoming the latest victim in this intractable conflict.

The awakening
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Sunday’s deadly commemoration of the “Nakba” in Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories came as added confirmation that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is entering a new and irreversible phase.

Israeli massacre at Lebanon border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Mohammed Zaatari - May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Ten Palestinian protesters were shot dead and 112 others wounded Sunday by Israeli forces along Lebanon’s borders with Israel as thousands of unarmed Palestinians rallied to the frontier to mark the Nakba, the 63rd anniversary of the expulsion from their homeland. Thousands of Palestinian men, women and children, some wrapped in kaffiyehs, flocked in buses from various Palestinian refugee camps across Lebanon to the borders, in a rally they called “the march to return to Palestine.” The buses carried the names of Palestinian villages whose residents were displaced in 1948.

Egyptian protesters mark Nakba outside Israeli Embassy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Ali Abdel Mohsen - May 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters gathered at the Israeli Embassy early on Sunday to mark the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, commonly known across the Arab world as the “Nakba”, or catastrophe. Among other demands, the protesters called for the “right of return” for Palestinians forced to flee after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. The protesters displayed Palestinian flags of varying sizes, some of them hung from nearby lamp posts. They simultaneously called for the removal of the Israeli flag from the embassy.

Changing realities in the Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Khaleej Times
by Naava Mashiah, Ghanem Nuseibeh - (Opinion) May 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The uprisings in the Middle East are plunging the region into uncharted territory. But, as international and other regional powers scramble to adjust to the changing realities, they are also an opportunity for Israel and Arab countries to forge mutually beneficial economic ties and to coalesce around common regional interests.

Mideast middleman quits _ but does it matter?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Dan Perry - (Opinion) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The question of whether mediators matter took on acuity this weekend with the resignation of U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell, a move that came exactly as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict he was asked to help resolve seems about to retake center stage. For all the hand-wringing in diplomatic circles, reaction on the ground in the Middle East itself, was uncharacteristically muted. That reflected the fact that peace talks have been largely frozen since 2008, with the exception of a brief span in September, a Mitchell-mediated effort that quickly ran aground.

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